MANILA - The Supreme Court is keeping mum on President Benigno Aquino III’s speech on Monday night, which questioned its arguments and logic in declaring unconstitutional several acts under the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
SC spokesman Theodore Te said it has “no comment” on the biting remarks of Aquino defending the DAP.
In his televised speech on Monday, Aquino issued a message to the high court: “We do not want two equal branches of government to go head to head, needing a third branch to step in to intervene. We find it difficult to understand your decision.”
He added, without giving details: “You had done something similar in the past, and you tried to do it again; there are even those of the opinion that what you attempted to commit was far graver."
Although he did not specify it, Aquino is believed to have been referring to the Supreme Court's use of the Judiciary Development Fund (JDF), where savings have been used for purposes other than what the money was intended for.
Budget deliberations will also begin after Aquino’s State of the Nation Address (SONA).
A motion for reconsideration of the DAP ruling will be filed soon, Aquino said.
SC STUDYING COA REPORT
The COA released last Friday, ahead of Aquino’s speech, an audit report questioning the “savings” of the SC in 2012 amounting to P3.19 billion despite having unpaid obligations.
“Our audit revealed that in CY 2012, the Supreme Court declared as savings the total amount of P3.19 billion or 22 percent of the total Notices of Cash Allocations (NCAs) of P14.72 billion from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).”
These NCAs are based on the Monthly Cash Program (MCP) submitted by an office to the DBM. MCPs provide a breakdown of “pre-determined” expenditures, such as payment for goods and services.
The COA is puzzled why the high court declared such a huge amount of savings even though it had large unpaid obligations.
On this, Te merely said: “The Court is still studying the COA Report.”
Earlier, Liberal Party allies said they will also probe the JDF of the judiciary.
Under Presidential Decree 1949, JDF was established for the benefit of the members and personnel of the judiciary. It is sourced from docket and other legal fees.
The law requires the judiciary to use 80% of it for cost of living allowances for employees, while 20% will be used for office equipment and other infrastructure needs.
Te denied the JDF is a form of pork barrel.
The SC also earlier declared unconstitutional the pork barrel of Congress, the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).